BOSTON (Reuters) - Hundreds of Red Sox fans jammed Boston’s streets on Monday to celebrate their team’s second World Series victory in four years, some hurling rocks at police in riot gear, smashing windows and lighting fires.
Police moved in on a crowd of up to 2,000 around Boston’s historic Fenway Park, where at least one sport utility vehicle was overturned just after midnight after the Red Sox beat the Colorado Rockies 4-3 on Sunday in Denver in a four-game sweep.
Some fans climbed trees or streetlamps, shouting at police as celebrations briefly turned violent. A Boston police spokeswoman said 37 arrests were made. At least one person was treated for a head wound, local WBZ TV said.
Rioting fans smashed automobile windshields, trampled on cars, hurled bottles at police and lit small fires but these were extinguished by emergency authorities, local TV showed.
The crowds were smaller and more orderly than in 2004, when Boston ended an 86-year championship drought and exorcised what generations of fans had called a “curse.”
Boston police wanted to avoid a repeat of a Fenway riot on October 21, 2004, when police fired pepper pellets into crowds, killing a student, after Boston rallied from behind to beat the Yankees in New York to advance into the World Series.
Sunday’s win over Colorado was hailed as a new era for the Red Sox, which had been dismissed as baseball’s perennial also-rans before their 2004 World Series victory.
“It’s unbelievable, incredible and amazing,” said Jenny Lyden, 33, a teacher from Wellesley, Massachusetts. “There are people out there who might not be able to appreciate all the pain that we went through before 2004,” she added.
Office water-cooler talk focused on the Red Sox becoming the new Yankees, baseball’s greatest dynasty and Boston’s top rival. Already, Boston’s $146 million payroll makes them Major League Baseball’s second-highest paid team after New York.
“These Red Sox are the Yankees of a new generation,” wrote sports columnist Hal Bodley of USA Today, the nation’s largest circulation newspaper.
“The Red Sox are poised to become baseball’s next dynasty. The way the Red Sox handled the Rockies reminds me of the Joe Torre-managed New York Yankees in the late 1990s,” he wrote.
“Red Sox Nation,” an ardent base of traveling supporters, has swelled since 2004 and sometimes outnumbers home team fans at Boston road games. Not even the Yankees played in front of bigger crowds on the road in the 2007 regular season.
Hundreds gathered again at Fenway in the afternoon as the Red Sox returned from Denver. Fans snapped up T-shirts, caps, stuffed versions of the team’s “Green Monster” mascot, anything to serve as a souvenir. A parade will be held Tuesday.
“It’s better this year. It’s going to get better every year,” said Boston fan Jamie Lashway of Amherst, Massachusetts. “The Red Sox are on a tear,” added Steve Graves of Belchertown, Massachusetts.
“A new era dawns for the Red Sox,” declared The Boston Globe on its Web site. “This time the wait was only 3 percent as long as the last one. We didn’t have to raid nursing homes to find people who actually saw the Red Sox win their last World Series,” wrote Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan.
Additional reporting by Av Harris